in the 1970s it became clear to many in Nevada that
it was only a matter of time before other States allowed
legal gambling. Nevada had Provided for corporate ownership
of casinos in the latter 1960s. As Corporate leader
gained management experience in gaming issues, they
would want to expand into other States, and those states,
beginning with New Jersey, Welcomed the idea. It would
Provide a new source of reveue.
O'Callaghan had included inceasing environmentally-clean
industry in Nevada as part of his campaign platform
when he ran for governor of Nevada in 1970. Not long
into his eight-year administration, Gov. O'Callaghan
appointed Robert E. (Bob) Goodman as director of the
Department of Tourism and Economic Development. That
department had neither a large staff nor a large budget.
Goodman's tenure, despite limited funding and a small
staff, Nevada would be successful in achieving the governor's
campaign Promise and goal. He Would build the department
into a Program so important to Nevada that the following
Administration would give the Lieutenant Governor, a
statewide elected official, a key role in its work.
of the major challenges for the Nevada resort industry
during the 1970s, and for Goodman, came in October 1973,
When the members of OPEC placed an oil embargo on nations
Which had supported Israel in its conflict with Egypt.
The United States was one of those nations. As gasoline
became scarce, Goodman dispatChed stdss to rent nddsize
cars alld demnstrare that visitors could drive from
Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back on a tank of gasoline.
The same was done for Reno and San Francisco. Combined
with aggressive advertising, tourism to Nevada's two
key cites did not fall to crisis levels, remaining brisk.
Congress had threatened to close gas stations on Sundays,
a move Which held the potential of "stranding" visitors
in the State. Nevada led the successful opposition,
with Goodman in a leadership role.
casualty of the oil crisis was Winnebago Industries.
Working with Goodman, the major manufacturer of motor
homes had been perparing to open a major expansion operation
in Nevada. That business suffered heavily during the
oil crisis, and the expansion plans were of necessity
the oil crisis passed, Nevada's tourism industry continued
to grow. Las Vegas was becoming recognized as the "Entertainment
Capital of the World." Gross casino income in 197l had
been $633 million. By 1977 that income had more than
doubled, to $l.5 billion, despite the economic recession
of 1975. Between 197l and 1977, five new resort hotels
were constructed in Las Vegas. In Reno, where the then-MGM
Grand was under construction, three large hotel-casinos
had been built and three others (including the MGM)
were under construction.
Goodman was working to emphasize the recreational aspect
of tourism in Nevada. Water recreation at Lake Tahoe
and Lake Mead; skiing in the Sierra golf, fishing, hunting,
"ghost towning, and rockhounding were emphasized. Tom
Wilson, a Reno advertising frim, and Darryl Monahan,
Goodmnan's deputy developed a Program creating four
"countries" in Nevada-Stagecoach Country, Pioneer Trails
Country, Covered Wagon Country, and Prospector Counny.
The Program Provided platforms for involving state,
local and federal agencies in localized Promotion of
tourism. It was the "stay an extra day" Promotion which
successfully encouraged many visitors to look at other
parts of Nevada. Many elements of this Program remain
in place today. While this program was receiving major
promotion, it resulted in nearly 4,000 mail-in requests
for information monthly.
of its unique tourist attractions, Goodman was invited
by the United States Travel Service to participate in
the first joint sponsorship of a travel mission in 1972.
For the tour Goodman brought together a number of the
state's top people in tourism. The group visited Japan,
Hong Kong and Anstralia. The State had not budgeted
for this trip. Participants willingly paid their own
Nevada exhibit at the "Visit America" building in Sydney
broke a national attendance record, with more than 5,000
people attending in one day. In Japan, the Andersons,
then-owners of the Ponderosa Ranch at Lake Tahoe, were
so well received that they began work with Goodman on
a follow-up program. Throughout the travel mission,
Nevadans found people interested in the state's "Old
West" aspects. The Ponderosa (which closed in 2004)
was a theme park based on the popular, long-running
television series "Bonanza."
the year following the travel mission, Goodman and the
Andersons would return to Japan Presenting a replica
Ponderosa Ranch House at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo.
Bonanza had enjoyed a l4-year run in Japan.The ranch
house was instantly recognizable and gave Nevada a "wild
west" identify to go with its gambling image, both of
Which appealed to potential tourists in Tokyo.
followup involved bringing a group of Japanese travel
writers to Nevada. They traveled across the stade by
ground vehicles, stopping in Anstin, Eureka and Ely,
and participating in a barbecue at Wheeler Peak. The
tour resulted in numerous articles encouraging Japanese
tourists to see more of Nevada.
the years Goodman headed the agency, tourism was strongly
promoted in many ways. Nevada Magazine had been published
by the Nevada Department of Highways for many years.
That agency was changing in the 1970s, ultimately as
the Department of Tranportation. The magazine had been
subsidized by the highway department from its inception.
Management was transferred to the Department of Economic
Development and Tourism in June, 1975. The Previous
year it had created a deficit of $l59,O00. In the 1977-78
biennium, that deficit was a mere $203.
Development was never neglected by Goodman all the time
tourism was being Promoted. One of the first firms to
accept Nevada's invitation to locate in the State was
Electronic Dispensers International. EDI fabricates
and sells the ubiquitous beverage dispensers found in
bars around the world.
lasting legacy of Goodman's recruiting work are the
J.C. Penney catalog distribution centers in Reno and
Clark County The Penney corporation was planning to
construct the center in the Sacramento area. Goodman
was able to parlay the firm's interest in working with
Nevada to host the National Governor's Conference at
South Lake Tahoe into a corporate decision to locate
in Reno, rather than Sacramento.
in the final year of Goodman's administration, 1978,
Penney's announced it would open a second Nevada operation
in Southern Nevada. A change in economic conditions
nationally caused them to delay, then cancel that Project.
national corporations, hearing of the Penney decision
to locate in Nevada, began contacting Goodman. One of
the first to join Penney's was the Levi Strauss Company.
In 1975 it chose to locate in the New Horizons Industrial
park in Henderon. Buster Brown Texiles and McDonnell-Douglas
aircraft followed Strauss to Nevada. The Admiral Corporation
soon joined them.
series of datafiles was developed for each Nevada community,
allowing incoming industries ready access to information
on any area it might want to consider. Concurrentiy,
the U.S. Department of Commerce and the University of
Nevada created a Nevada Export Directory designed to
encourage trade with overseas firms. Another tool was
a comprehensive directory of Nevada industries. Through
these Programs, F.W. Dodge Information Systems Company
reported, thousands of new jobs wer created in Nevada.
1975 Goodman was selectod as Advocate of the Year by
the Small Business Administration's regional office.
In the award nomination, it was noted that Goodman provided
extensive referrals and requests for assistance to the
SBA, and was instrumental in arranging for the chairman
of the State Gaming Control board to testify before
the SBA,leading to positive changes in the agency's
regulations relative to assistance to businesses involved
had become aware of a growing trend by major and minor
motion picture and television producers to use actual
locations in filming, instead of the Hollywood studios.
He reasoned that Southern Nevada had a lot to offer
to that industry: It was close to Hollywood, had few
cloudy or rainy days, and offered a variety of background
settings. An impressive list of resources for the motion
picture and television industry was prepared, with the
assistance of chambers of commerce throughout the State.A
12-page brochure,"We're Right Next Door," touted what
Nevada offered to that industry. By the mid-197Os, Hollywood
Producers of everything from commercials to hour-long
specials, and full-length movies were coming into Nevada.
These were not just in Las Vegas. In Northern Nevada,
two feature-length motion Pictures-"Charley Varrick"
and "The Shootist" -brought major star-and publicity-to
the area. There were some 300 members 0f the National
Screen Actors Guild in Nevada shortly after it was organized
1979, the Legislature created the state Motion Picture
Commission. The successful Program initiated by Goodman
became a full division of the State's Economic Development
Commission with creation of the Nevada Film Office in
1983. Film-making as a clean industry spending large
sums of money in the area in which it films.
major step in economic development for Nevada was taken
in 1976, when Goodman led a successful effort to get
Nevada into the Four Corners Regional Commission. A
federal-state Program undor a federal law which has
since expired, the Commission dispensed federal grant
money. Within days of joining, Nevada receivcd a $ll5,OOO
grat to initiate the West Las Vegas Community Comprehensive
Economic Development plan.
22 square miles of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and unincorporated
Clark County, was designded as a Special Impact Area
by the Economic Development Administration, and an Urban
Revitalization Area by the SBA. During the life of the
Four Corners Regional Commission, Nevada would receive
tens of millions of dollars in economic development
a few of these, Carson Valley Conservation District
was able to map the Carson River System. Pioche and
Alamo received grants for water system engineering work.
Another Project led to establishing the Foreign Trade
Zone in Las Vegas.
Bob List was elected governor , he naturally wanted
to place his own people in the various State agencies.
Bob Goodman was offered the position of Economic Development Director
for the State of Wyoming where he remained for two years.
His legacy lives on in Nevada through the work done by grants
from the Four Corners Regional Commission, through the
continuing tourism "Countries" Program, through the Nevada Film
Office, and through the numerous corporations that chose to
locate in Nevada during the 1970s as a result of Robert (Bob) Goodman.